False Facebook paedophile accusation left Rushden man fearing for his safety

A Rushden man who posted a picture of a person on Facebook with a caption wrongly saying he was a paedophile is facing a hefty bill.

Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 6:00 am

Jake Swords, 27, sent the abhorrent social media post in revenge after he himself was accused online of stealing a motorbike.

A police investigation found Swords, of Tennyson Road in Rushden, had not stolen the bike - but he landed up in court for his malicious actions on social media. He admitted one count of grossly offensive communications on what would have been the day of his trial at Wellingborough Magistrates' Court yesterday (Monday).

The court heard that, on April 9, the victim's motorbike had been stolen from his garage. He went on to accuse Swords of the burglary online after receiving a message on a motorbike group.

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Wellingborough Magistrates' Court.

Three days later an account called Frankie Swords - run by the Rushden man - posted a picture of the victim online alongside a caption saying: "Paedophile in Rushden. Be careful."

Prosecuting, Seyaad Arif said the post had left the victim stressed and anxious and that he had since been abused in public.

Mr Arif said: "Because of this message, while he was in Sainsbury's an unknown person approached him and called him a string of expletives."

A victim impact statement read to magistrates said he feared for his family's safety.

It said: "I do not know how many people have seen this post but I do not know what the potential repercussions could be.

"I fear for my family's safety."

Mitigating, Ammo Bains said Swords made the Facebook post in "a moment of madness".

He added that there had been no further incidents and that a serious road traffic collision in 2016, which left Swords in a coma, had affected his thought process.

Addressing magistrates Swords - who was jailed last year for affray - said: "I know two wrongs don't make a right."

Sentencing was adjourned to next week at Northampton Magistrates' Court for probation reports to be carried out.

Chairman of the bench Richard Hawkins - who threw a member of the public out of the courtroom for interrupting - said Swords' actions were "toxic".

He said: "We acknowledge that this was a one-off posting.

"But it does not get any more toxic than calling someone a paedophile which I am sure you understand and is probably why you did it."